Pakistan players enjoying each other’s company and are confident: Interim coach Saqlain Mushtaq

Dubai: Pakistan interim head coach Saqlain Mushtaq said on Thursday that his team is enjoying each other’s company and are quite confident after winning matches against India and New Zealand in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

He added that apart from confidence and belief, Pakistan’s commitment, strong attitude and executing to plan with clarity has been very crucial in the 2009 champions sitting at top of Group 2 points table.

“We had a really good start and we are quite confident. They’re enjoying each other’s company and quite confident. But obviously that confidence and belief, which we got it from the last two games, followed by the really good commitment and strong attitude and executing to plan with clarity that is very important. So proud that all things are going smoothly,” said Mushtaq in the pre-match press conference.

“Obviously it’s a T20 game and you will have some sort of hiccups and you have to be aware of that. And you shouldn’t be going into a surprising sort of mindset. And it’s T20, and we can’t take things for granted. We are quite optimistic. Looking forward for upcoming games,” added Mushtaq.

Talking about Pakistan’s match against Afghanistan in Dubai on Friday, the former off-spinner remarked that the spin troika of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi are very good bowlers.

“They have a wonderful bowling attack, especially the spinners. And when they go for batting, they just play the way they feel it, what’s in their heart, what they think. They just go and execute the plan. They just play sort of a fearless cricket. And I think that kind of team can be dangerous.”

“I’ve been hearing about them, that they are actually key players for Afghanistan. And they’ve been doing really well in different leagues. And they are quite confident to do their business on their day. They are very good. But obviously we should play and we should execute our plan with the clarity of the mind.”

Asked if opener Fakhar Zaman, who is batting at three in the tournament, could be shifted down the order in order to avoid the spinners, Mushtaq rejected thoughts on it.

“If you see that just before the World Cup, in first two warm-up games, the way he executed against the pacers and against the spinners, and we are quite clear as a support staff, especially me, I’m quite clear, and captain and batting consultant, that he did brilliantly before the starting of the World Cup.”

“He actually started his fine work by hitting Ish Sodhi for a massive six. Unfortunately, after two deliveries, he got out lbw. But his body language seems really solid and positive. When he came back, we had a little bit review. He seems really confident and obviously you need confidence to execute your plans. And he’s quite clear. So, we’re not worried about Fakhar, and we’re not worried about Fakhar’s position to change.”

Mushtaq insisted that the Pakistan team knows the conditions of all three UAE venues very well and are very clear about executing plans for the same. “Obviously Sharjah pitch, it’s slow and low. It’s not easy to actually score big runs. But I think it’s slightly better. But you need to execute your plan in a different way. You have to be technically quite strong, and you should know that what is your scoring areas and how to go about it on the day, how you’re feeling it.”

“And I think the boys, in terms of obviously Pakistan point of view, the boys are quite clear. They’ve been playing in these conditions for quite some time, like our PSL, our national teams, they’ve been playing in these conditions for such a long time. So, they’re quite aware. And we are clear that how to go about it. We know the conditions in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We know the conditions of the pitches better than the others.”


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